Do you celebrate? Do you not celebrate?
I’ve actually never had to deal with these questions because even though my mom passed away we weren’t used to celebrating her birthday when she was around. This meant we didn’t really have to do anything differently once she was gone.
My grandmother’s birthday on the other hand was basically a national holiday in my family’s eyes. She loved her birthday and we always celebrated accordingly – cake, flan, and enough grandchildren around to help her blow out the candles. Facing her birthday last Friday without her was really difficult.
It’s the first time my family wasn’t at my house on July 18th. The first time we spent it at the cemetery.
I don’t know if there’s a right or perfect way to deal with such an emotionally charged day, but here’s a glimpse at how I approached it.
1. Visited her at the cemetery. This isn’t where I feel my grandmother the most, so if you’re like me know you’re not alone. But, all the same, it feels nice to have a physical place to go and drop off some pretty flowers. (Sidenote: my grandmother’s middle name was Flor so her fascination with flowers was real.)
2. Took a break from my phone all of Friday. An electronic break is extraordinarily good for the soul, especially on days you want to be alone with your thoughts. This really helped me regroup and gave me time to reflect on how much I missed my grandmother and all our funny moments.
3. Looked at old pictures. Some days my grandmother wasn’t the easiest person to get along with, but then there were moments like these.
4. I cried. Allowing myself to do all of the above gave me a chance to feel like I could cry. I didn’t plan this out. But, man was it good.